The World of EV’s Need Massive Supply of High Grade Lithium
Experts say that the amount of lithium being produced in North America will not be enough to meet the growing demand for EVs (electrical vehicles) but that some of problem might/might not be alleviated via recycling,
According to a report from the US EPA: “lithium-ion batteries “safe” for disposal in contrast to nickel-cadmium and lead-based battery products.”
Here is the reason recycling is not happening: the scrap value of lithium is 1/10 the of the value of lead, hence low to no economic gains from lithium battery recycling.
Another article by Waste Management World acknowledges that electrical vehicle-makers would like to re-use lithium from recycled batteries, but that: It does not make any economic sense to recycle the batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries contain a very small fraction of lithium carbonate as a percent of weight and are inexpensive compared to cobalt or nickel.
The average lithium cost associated with Li-ion battery production is less than 3% of the production cost.
Intrinsic value for the Li-ion recycling business currently comes from the valuable metals such as cobalt and nickel that are more highly priced than lithium.
Due to less demand for lithium and low prices, none of the lithium used in consumer batteries is completely recycled.
There is a growing North America shortage of lithium for EVs (electric vehicles): There are at least 20 or 25 direct-electrically powered and hybrids coming onto the market in the next 5 or 6 years. They will come from auto manufactures in the US, Europe, Japan, China and Korea.
Many in the industry are aware, talking about and working on the problem of providing the high high grade lithium. The investment opportunities abound.
About 70% of the world’s lithium deposits are concentrated in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. The US imports over 80% of the lithium it uses.
Japan and South Korea (LG is the world’s largest producer) have both marked record high numbers of lithium-ion battery exports in H-1 in Y 2016, as auto companies ramp up battery consumption to power new all-electric offerings,
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence said a month ago. Lithium-ion battery shipments from Japan topped 33,500 tonnes in 2-H, up 17% from 2-H of of 2015 and over 31% Y-Y.
Have a terrific week